Friday, July 27, 2012
Roberts Earns $5,300 for Volunteer Speedway 'Southern Nationals' Victory
by Robert Walden
BULLS GAP, Tenn. -- Volunteer Speedway hosted the Schaeffer Oil Southern Nationals Series on Friday night for the series' next-to-last event for the 2012 two-week tour around the Southeast, which has included races in Virginia, Georgia, Alabama and Tennessee.
Casey Roberts, of Toccoa, Ga., was the class of the field as he captured his first-ever victory at 'The Gap' to pocket $5,300 for winning the Summer Sizzler 53.
Roberts proved to be the fastest in time-trials when he laid down a lap of 12.601 seconds around the high-banked clay oval. He was joined in the top-eight by series point leader Chris Madden, Mike Marlar, Kenny Compton Jr., Mark Douglas, Vic Hill, Chad Ogle and Jeff Maupin.
Hill suffered a broken rear end in qualifying but his crew hastily handled the situation and got the car repaired in time to make the feature race starting grid and maintain his qualifying position.
At the start of the 53-lap feature race it appeared as though this event would serve as a continuation of the previous night's action at Cleveland Speedway. Just as he had 24 hours earlier, Madden bolted from his outside front row starting spot to grab the lead as the cars roared through turns one and two. However, a bobble by Madden in turn four gave Roberts the opportunity to assume control, and that he did.
Once out front, Roberts set a torrid pace in the early laps, building a lead of over a straightaway until a lap 11 caution was called when Dillan White came to a stop in turn four.
On the ensuing restart, Marlar began to challenge Madden for the runner-up spot as Roberts again slipped away from his pursuers. But on lap 16, Marlar's mount got sideways and bounced up on two wheels, almost rolling over between turns one and two which produced the event's second caution period.
It looked as if Marlar, who was second to Madden in the series standings coming into the night, had seen his race come to a premature end as a wrecker lifted the rear of his car off the track and began to tow it away. However, Marlar's crew sprang into action while the car was hoisted in the air and made repairs and he rejoined the race at the rear of the field.
After that restart, Roberts appeared as if he may have given the race away when he bobbled in turn four and lost the lead to Madden. Madden rode out front for the next eight circuits before caution waved on lap 24, when Marlar slowed to a stop and then headed into the pits for attention from his crew.
Ironically, after a caution for his closest competitor in the standings, Madden suffered a mechanical problem on the following restart. His car simply failed to go when the green flag waved. The yellow flag immediately came back out. With his car stopped in turn two, it looked as if Madden was finished for this race. He even got out of the car and began to give an earful to a Southern Nationals official who was in the area.
With Marlar still on track it looked as if Madden might surrender some of his 36-point lead which he had built up over the past two weeks. But just as had been the case with Marlar, Madden's crew frantically went to work in the pits on the car and got their driver back on track just before the green flag waved.
Meanwhile, Roberts reassumed the lead after Madden's troubles. From that point, he would lead the rest of the way but not without some tough going in traffic over the final five laps that allowed Chad Ogle and Mark Douglas to close to within striking distance.
At the finish, it was Roberts, driving the Starrette Trucking/Cushman Paint & Body/M&S Concrete Inc./GW Performance/VP Racing Fuels/CV Racing Products/Simpson/Hoosier by Pup/Capital Race Cars/No. 101 Chevrolet Camaro taking the $5,300 victory ahead of Douglas, who just nipped Chad Ogle at the finish line for the runner-up spot, then Billy Ogle Jr. and Maupin rounding out the top-five.
Completing the top-10 finishers were five-time Volunteer Speedway Super Late Model champion Hill, Madden, Marlar, Compton and Travis Greer.
Fast-qualifier Jensen Ford of Piney Flats grabbed the lead at start of the 35-lap Fastrak Racing Series-sanctioned Pro Late Model feature over three-time defending track champion Dale Ball, Tim Byrd, Mike Smith and Ricky Moore.
Ford quickly began to put some real estate between his Williams II Racing/AFCO Silver Advantage/Envy Suspension & Race Consultants/Hy-Tec Specialty Coatings/Sweet Mfg./FK Rod Ends/Wilwood Disc Brakes/QuickCar Racing Products/Simpson/Twisted Roofs/Primetime Designs Race Car Decals & Body Wraps/TNT Race Cars & Parts/No. 83 Chevrolet Camaro, and his closest challengers.
Ball had a rearview mirror full of Byrd, while just behind them Smith had Moore riding on his rear bumper. The red flag waved on lap 10, when Tom Smith slammed the outside guardrail hard between turns three and four resulting in significant damage to his car.
Back under green, Ford set sail over Ball and Byrd. While Ford had the cruise control engaged on his machine out front, just five laps from the finish Ball slowed with an apparent flat tire, thus moving Byrd into the second spot. Ford captured his second feature win of the season over Byrd, Tim Maupin (charged to third after starting 11th), Smith and Moore.
Dale Reed jumped into the lead over Jon Cook, Jamie Whitt, Dennis Metcalf and Ray Jarnigan at start of the 25-lap Modified Hobby feature. Reed's run out front only lasted the first three circuits before he slowed and coasted into the infield pits with mechanical problems, thus moving Cook to the point.
Whitt, from Wise, Va., moved into the lead after Cook slowed to bring out the caution with a flat left-front tire on lap 12. Chauffeuring the B&D Repair/Baldwin Filters/Iron Horse Race Cars/No. 1 Chevrolet Monte Carlo, Whitt led the remaining distance to record his division-leading sixth victory on the season over Metcalf, Jarnigan, Cook and Charlie Bates.
Next race at Volunteer Speedway will be Saturday, Aug. 4, when the Southern Regional Racing Series Super Late Models make their first-ever visit "The Gap" to headline the racing program in a $3,000-to-win event.
SCHAEFFER OIL SOUTHERN NATIONALS SERIES - VOLUNTEER SPEEDWAY - BULLS GAP, TN - 'SUMMER SIZZLER 53' - $5,300-TO-WIN
Showing Finish Position, Starting Position In Parentheses, Driver Name, Car Number, Hometown, Purse, Laps Completed In Parentheses
1. (1) Casey Roberts #101-Toccoa, GA $5,300 (53)
2. (5) Mark Douglas #52D-Knoxville, TN $2,500 (53)
3. (7) Chad Ogle #10-Sevierville, TN $1,500 (53)
4. (9) Billy Ogle Jr. #201-Knoxville, TN $1,000 (53)
5. (8) Jeff Maupin #0-Greeneville, TN $900 (53)
6. (6) Vic Hill #1-Morristown, TN $800 (53)
7. (2) Chris Madden #44-Gray Court, SC $750 (53)
8. (3) Mike Marlar #5b-Winfield, TN $725 (53)
9. (4) Kenny Compton Jr. $10c-Bland, VA $700 (52)
10. (15) Travis Greer #11g-Marion, VA $675 (49)
11. (12) Greg Estes #1g-Jonesville, VA $650 (47)
12. (10) Dale McDowell #41-Chickamauga, GA $630 (33)
13. (16) Brett Miller #47-Greeneville, TN $620 (17)
14. (17) Josh Henry #25-Newport, TN $610 (13)
15. (13) Chris Combs #47c-Isom, KY $600 (11)
16. (18) Dillan White #54-Crofton, KY $590 (10)
17. (20) Mark Vineyard #4-Powell, TN $580 (9)
18. (19) Dillon Wood #1w-Daytona Beach, FL $570 (8)
19. (11) Daniel Baggerly #16-Rural Retreat, VA $560 (2)
20. (21) Forrest Trent #4Q-Morristown, TN $550 (1)
Did Not Start: (14) Bryan Hendrix #5-Knoxville, TN $50
FK Rod Ends Fast Time Award ($100 Cash): Casey Roberts 12.601
Lap Leaders: Casey Roberts (1-16), Chris Madden (17-24), Casey Roberts (25-53)
Cautions: 4 (Dillan White Slows on Lap 11, Mike Marlar Spins on Lap 16, Mike Marlar Slows on Lap 24, Chris Madden Stalls on Lap 24 Restart)
FK Rod Ends Winner of the Race Award (Set of Rod Ends): Casey Roberts
The Joie of Seating Safety Award ($100 Cash): Casey Roberts
Wilwood Engineering Tough Break Award ($50 Product Certificate): Daniel Baggerly
DBR Starters Middle Man Award ($100 Product Certificate): Greg Estes
Barry Wright Race Cars Highest Finisher Award ($100 Product Certificate): Forrest Trent
GW Performance Highest Finisher Award ($50 Product Certificate): Casey Roberts
Roush Yates Racing Engines Slow Time Award ($50 Product Certificate): Forrest Trent
PRO LATE MODEL (35 laps)
1) Jensen Ford #83; 2) Tim Byrd #24; 3) Tim Maupin #T2; 4) Mike Smith #4; 5) Ricky Moore #75; 6) Todd Brooks #T1; 7) Richard Adkins #73; 8) Dale Ball #2; 9) Greg Burchett #5g; 10) John Tweed #5; 11) Forrest Trent #4Q; 12) Jerry Broyles #72; 13) Mack McCarter #51; 14) Tom Smith #14; 15) Rick Rogers #88
MODIFIED HOBBY (20 laps)
1) Jamie Whitt #1; 2) Dennis Metcalf #55; 3) Ray Jarnigan #77; 4) Jon Cook #0z; 5) Charlie Bates #27; 6) Clynis Phillips #77w; 7) Shorty Ledford #41; 8) Jesse Wilder #79; 9) Danny Helton #14; 10) Mike Mays #30; 11) Robbie Woods #2; 12) Mike Roberts #9; 13) Landon Williams #25; 14) Dale Reed #52; 15) Tyler Smith #32 - Did Not Start: Kimberly Allen #15